Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Driving in Meditation

As far as I am concerned, driving on Long Island is one of the more stressful activities you can be forced to endure throughout the day. If you can meditate while driving, you'll find other endeavors far easier.

When I say "meditate," I do not mean close your eyes, or daze off, get all dreamy, and end up traveling from Point A to Point B without knowing how you got there. That's not meditating. That's called not being present, and is in fact, the exact opposite of meditating.

When I say meditating, I mean you must be fully present, fully focused, and completely immersed in the moment in the act of driving -- while remaining balanced, content, and peaceful. That means, you're not harshly accelerating because you're in a rush (as everybody seems to be on Long Island). That is rajas, over-activity and aggression. That means you're not blocking intersections, even if it's just the 711, because you had the where-with-all and the foresight to see that someone would need to turn out of that parking lot or make a left-hand turn into that parking lot while you're still braking at a traffic light. That means you're not swearing the person tailgating you, even if he/she flashes his/her lights at you or honks his/her horn. That means you're not missing your turn or missing street signs or signals or sirens because your mind went somewhere else. That means you don't have to slam on your brakes because you looked down to change the song and when you looked up traffic was stopped or a pedestrian was walking in front of you. You are not la-la-ing around, admiring scenery, gazing at the stars, marveling at flowers in bloom... this is laziness, tamas, not what we are looking for while driving. You are arriving at sattva, present, alert, focused, you hear what's going on around you too, because you're not on a call wrapped up in someone else or something else that is not on the road in front of you. This is meditation. Being focused on the road, on your environment, on the affect you are having on the environment and other people on the road and the affect that they are having on you.

The next time you catch yourself curse the person who cut you off, stop. See if you can take a deep breath. You'll notice that when you are in that kind of rush or panic, the stress registers in your body and your breath will get shallow or inconsistent in some way. Witness the effects that driving has on your body physically, mentally, and emotionally. How does it affect your musculoskeletal structure, your posture, your breathing, your mood, your attitude, your thoughts, and your feelings?

See if you can transport yourself from one place to another, without rushing but without being in another world, but being fully in this world, anticipating other people's moves, using judgment and awareness when it comes to your moves, and trusting that you are going to get to where you need to go when you get there, so abandon the controlling, the rushing, the worrying, the aggravation with other people, and allow yourself to just be.

No comments:

Post a Comment